Yehudit Sasportas

1969 | Ashdod, Israel

Multidisciplinary Israeli artist.

A total experience of real and sensory spaces shapes the oeuvre of Yehudit Sasportas, who lives and works in Tel Aviv and Berlin. Her site-specific installations combining sculpture, drawing, video and sound, are carefully made for each project to pay attention to the architectural elements and the psychic history interwoven within them. Her works have been featured in dozens of solo exhibitions (in Israel, Germany, Denmark, Britain, the United States and elsewhere), as well as in numerous group exhibitions. Their inclusion in major Israeli and international collections (including the Israel Museum, Jerusalem and MoMA, New York) points to her influence and relevance in the international art arena.

In 1988 Y. Sasportas began her art studies in Beersheba, and in 1989 she enrolled in the BFA program at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Following the completion of her degree in 1993 she received numerous prizes, including the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Young Artist Prize, the Wolf Foundation’s Ingeborg Bachmann Scholarship, and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation Prize. In 1994, after completing her studies at the Cooper Union in New York, she became a faculty member at Bezalel, where she also completed her MFA 1999. She has since become a professor at Bezalel and is a significant figure in leading its BFA and MFA programmes.

Her first installations, included in the exhibitions Trash-Can Scale (1996) and The Carpenter and the Seamstress (2000), gave expression to her extraordinary ability to create multimedia works that present the viewer with a beautiful and carefully assembled experience. Sculpture and drawing infused new life into everyday objects, created by means of precise and captivating manual work. In the solo exhibition that represented Israel at the 52nd Venice Biennale, Y. Sasportas presented the installation The Guardians of the Threshold (2007), which established her international status and her ability to deconstruct reality and reconstruct it into a new mysterious existence. In this exhibition and in the solo exhibitions that followed (including The Laboratory, Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany; Seven Winters, Jerusalem; The Rifts of Absence, Potsdam; and The Archaeology of the Unseen, Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven, Germany), nature appears as a living, breathing organism existing in a multi-layered, subliminal sphere. Thus, with the precision that continues to characterise her works, and which is reminiscent of Japanese aesthetics, Y. Sasportas combines visible and subtextual life materials, which flicker in the dim spaces identified with her work, inviting the viewer on a journey into a world that is both alive and still.

Y. Sasportas’s intensive study of the Engadin region in the high alpine valley in the series The Fans (2001-2004); of the swamps of north-western Germany in G.H.A.R.D.Y local voices (2009); or of the Israel Museum’s architecture in the video Vortex of Separation (2013), translates into forlorn yet familiar landscapes. Her constant attention to the architecture of the exhibition space, to the city in which it is located, and to the broad cultural context that surrounds it, charges these installations with personal and collective memory, as an inseparable and endless continuum between local and universal histories.

Tamara Abramovitch

Translated from Hebrew by Talya Halkin.

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